The Ravens have agreed to terms with Marcus Williams. The standout safety will leave New Orleans and head to Baltimore on a whopping five-year, $70MM deal (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero adds that the contract includes $37MM in guaranteed money (Twitter link).
Williams, 26 in September, played on the tag last season after attempts to reach a long-term agreement came up short. The Saints still wanted to hammer out a long-term extension this time around, but their cap situation did not cooperate.
Last year, Williams posted a career-high 74 tackles to go along with two interceptions and eight pass breakups. He also made some serious strides in coverage, allowing a sub-50% completion rate for the first time in his career. Williams also added two interceptions, bringing his career tally to 15.
Baltimore was likely to be in the market for a new safety. They were frequently named as a potential suitor for Tyrann Mathieu, among other options who were available. With incumbent DeShon Elliott a pending free agent, it is not surprising the Ravens have made the investment in Williams. The former is a well-respected member of the defense, but injuries have been a constant throughout his four-year career. That, coupled with Williams’ skillset lending itself more naturally to a true free safety role, make this a logical move.
With Williams in place, the Ravens’ secondary still includes All Pro corners in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. At an average of $14MM per season, on the other hand, this deal adds considerably to the finances Baltimore has invested on the back end of its defense. It will also eat up nearly all of the cap space the team had manufactured recently, leaving them just short of the cap ceiling. Still, the deal should help give a boost to the team’s disappointing pass defense from last season.